Neck of Venison Sous-Vide with Red Wine (Brasato di Cervo)

This way of preparing sous-vide braised venison was inspired by a recipe from Piemonte in Italy to braise beef in red wine (or more specifically, in Barolo): Brasato al Barolo. The traditional recipe tells you to marinate the meat in the wine before cooking, but that is not necessary at all if you are going to cook it sous-vide for 24 hours anyway. You can make the same dish on the stovetop or in the oven, but the nice thing about doing it sous-vide is that thanks to the accurate temperature control it will always be tender and never be dry. Traditionally prepared the meat often turns out dry and then it is the delicious sauce (made with red wine, carrot, onion, celery, and stock) that rescues the dish. When you make it sous-vide the sauce will be as delcious, but the meat will be more juicy and tender. This was nice with cardoon gratin as a side and would be a great dish for the holidays. I used neck of venison, but another tough cut like shoulder would also work well.

Ingredients

For 4 to 6 servings

1 kilo (2.2 lbs) neck of venison

1/2 bottle good red wine

350 ml (1 1/2 cups) venison stock

100 grams (2/3 cup) minced onion

100 grams (2/3 cup) minced carrot

100 grams (2/3 cup) minced celery

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

6 cloves

1 sprig of rosemary

4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp cornstarch

Instructions

Season the venison on all sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Brown it in olive oil over medium high heat, then take it out of the pan and set aside on a plate to cool.

Add the celery, onion, carrot, and garlic to the drippings left in the pan. Season with salt.

Stir over medium heat until the vegetables start to color, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add half a bottle of red wine.

Add 2 bay leaves, 6 cloves, and a sprig of rosemary. You will have to fish them out later, so it is easy to wrap the rosemary (and possibly also the cloves) in muslin (I used a disposable hairnet). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the wine has been reduced by half, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the venison stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer…

…until most of the liquid has gone, about 30 minutes.

Now remove the bay leaves, rosemary, and cloves.

Puree the sauce with a stick blender, food processor, or blender.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Vacuum seal the meat with the sauce. You have three options for this:

  • If you have a chamber vacuum sealer, allow everything to cool to refrigerator temperature and then vacuum seal.
  • If you have a FoodSaver-type vacuum sealer, freeze the sauce before vacuum sealing it together with the meat.
  • Or use a ziploc bag and the water displacement method to seal meat and sauce together with as little air as possible. For this method the meat and sauce can still be warm.

Cook sous-vide for about 24 hours at 74C/165F.

Pour the sauce from the bag into a saucepan. Wrap the meat in aluminum foil to keep it warm while you finish the sauce.

Bring the sauce to a boil.

Mix a teaspoon of cornstarch with a teaspoon of cold water, then add this slurry to the sauce.

Stir until the sauce has thickened. You may have to add more cornstarch slurry to get it to the right thickness.

Turn off the heat and reheat the outside of the meat in the sauce for a couple of minutes.

Now slice the meat and serve it with the sauce, on preheated plates.

Wine pairing

This is very nice with a Barolo, but also a southern Rhone like Chateauneuf-du-Pape would work very well.

Flashback

DSC07806

Homemade New England Clam Chowder is a delicious creamy soup that is great as an appetizer for the holidays.

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4 thoughts on “Neck of Venison Sous-Vide with Red Wine (Brasato di Cervo)

  1. Lovely classic recipe which I would so love to taste ‘your way’! *smile* Am used to making it with pre-marinated beef in the oven and have to substitute your enticing vegetable also: any suggestions? I love using Barolo and have quite a few risotto recipes I prep with this beautiful soft red . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Stefan, I was wondering what your thoughts are about a leg of venison. Should I debone the leg, stuff it with something and then SV it with your wine sauce? I like that idea. What other ideas do you have? Will time and temp will be the same? Thabks

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    1. Hi Marcello, a leg has two parts. The lower part is also known as the shank. That would be fine at this time and temperature (24 hours at 74C/165F), but would also be nice at 62C/144F for 48 hours as in this recipe: https://stefangourmet.com/2016/11/29/venison-shank-sous-vide/
      The upper part is usually cut into steaks and cooked at a lower temperature to keep it pink (55C/131F). As it is relatively low in connective tissue, it is less suitable for stewing than neck or shoulder and it may end up on the dry side. The cooking time at 55C/131F depends on how tender the meat is to start with and how tender you like to have it. The best way to find out is to cut off a few small pieces and do an experiment, vacuum sealing them separately so you can try different cooking times. 6 to 12 hours would be my educated guess. If you are going to do a thick piece, take into account that it will take some time for the center to get up to 55C/131F so you would have to add that time to the time you liked for the small piece. If you are going to stuff it, make sure to cook the stuffing before as any vegetable part won’t cook at 55C/131F.

      Liked by 1 person

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